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Monday, May 10, 2004

Blogging and Cancer Screening

Today I added my weblog to Blizg, where you can vote for it, if you like it. I also added ICBM metatags, and updated this site at geoURL, so if you've been wanting to stalk me, this will makes your life easier.

Read an article on an optimal shape-shifting sequence for a two-dimensional object moving through a viscous fluid momentarily repiqued my interest in nanotech. But, then again, the most advanced nanotech is still way behind even the most trivial biotechnology. My feeling is that information technology will bring us to the point where biotech and bio-computing begin to outpace development in this both nanotech and, eventually, information technology itself. Definitely leaning towards "green goo" versus "gray goo" singularity prediciton.

Gilbert Welch posits in his new book, that one possible outcome of current cancer screening policy is nearly every American being diagnosed with some form or cancer.

Here's how it works:

Early screening for cancer results in more cancer patients. Many of them are treated for a cancer that would not have actually harmed them (this is all the more likely given that they had no symptoms). Treatment for patients that would have lived anyway logically results in a much higher "cure rate" for patients with early screening. This, in turn, falsely biases the statistics. This results in more public funding for cancer screening, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

What's more, misdiagnosed patients that die from radiation therapy aren't counted as cancer-related deaths. This rule skews the statistics even further in favor of more screening and more unnecessary treatment.

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